Data center innovation is not a monopoly

Scalability and flexibility for power protection was never so easy

Demand from an expanding world of Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, Cloud and location aware application are driving growth in the datacenter industry. Against this backdrop I am fortunate that I get time to talk with technologists and decision-makers in the industry, operators large and small. We often talk of information and communications technology (ICT) innovation, such as those constantly emerging from the semiconductor industry or data storage mediums. If Moore’s law was applied to the airline industry an aircraft would cross the Atlantic in 8 minutes with less than 3 liters of fuel. This is the innovation that has driven the industry and it’s impressive.

DatacenterblogSource : Intel Corporation


But while ICT has delivered unprecedented efficiency, the other disciplines have not stood still. The relentless pursuit of new cooling methods has led to great improvements in data center energy efficiency and now the people who deliver, measure and control the power to run these facilities might step forward and demonstrate what they can offer too.
Here are 5 things you can do today in your data center that were not possible just a few years ago:

  1. Circuit breakers just got clever – ABB’s Emax 2 circuit breakers have native metering capabilities for power quality and consumption measurement, a network interface supporting many communications protocols to allow you to remotely manage loads at a much more granular level with the ability to query and control the breaker from your smartphone. Using our additional Ekip functionality you can selectively decide which loads are important when you go to emergency power. Neat and virtual! It’s a breaker Jim, but not as we know it!
  2. Switchgear is digital – in the past any significant change in load characteristics for site upgrades would require a physical replacement of the sensor and control elements in the switchgear to satisfy the new specifications. This is no longer the case. It’s all digital now. Just log in and modify the parameters. Couple this with IEC61850 communications across the powertrain and you reduce your physical connections requirement by up to 80%. Digital also reduces project execution time, the physical size of the equipment and makes the installation more reliable and safe. With Digital you can make configuration changes with no downtime, no human access and no cost.
  3. There’s an app for that! – If you have motors then you should have drives. Our Drivetune application is capable of connecting wirelessly to ABB drives. With a user-friendly interface you can quickly and efficiently start-up and tune your drive and application. The intuitive and appealing dashboard shows the drive status, performance and configuration. The Drivetune application makes it possible to connect with any services and data available in the Internet providing a powerful tool for performing basic start-up and troubleshooting tasks.
  4. New UPS approaches– the de facto standard for the industry has been LV UPS and if you wanted to go to MV UPS you most likely needed a dynamic solution. In the past few years, several industrial UPS providers have brought their solution to the data center and the benefits are clear. For larger data centers a MV solution offers TCO benefit, uses less space and can co-exist easily with renewable and alternative energy generation.
  5. Open Standards for communication – DCIM has promised to deliver improvements in operational efficiency and we are seeing this capability mature at a steady pace. A key issue in the past was the proprietary nature of the solutions, and the limited opportunity to mix technologies and vendors. Well no more, system designs can be based now on open-but-cyber secure protocols and data access. This allows customers to ‘own their data’ and improves the opportunities to integrate with best-of-breed tools and business systems. Make the automation platform fit your operational philosophy, not the other way around …doh!

Innovation in the power train is very much rooted in control and optimization, providing more real-time and software-based interfaces that open up new possibilities for data center operations. This allows closer alignment between demand and provision to give greater visibility of system performance so you can react to the issues that will inevitably arise …before they happen!

Scalability and flexibility for power protection was never so easy – follow the link to read more.

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About the author

Ciaran Flanagan

I'm Head of Data Center Business Development at ABB globally, tasked with consolidating ABB as a key player in the datacenter industry. Prior to ABB I was Head of Datacenter Strategy at Nokia & previously held Consulting and Technology leadership roles at Verari Systems and Intel Corporation. I was a Founding Contributor to the EU Datacenter Code of Conduct and a Contributing Member of The Green Grid and the Open Datacenter Alliance. I also served as a Judge for Uptime Institute's Green Enterprise IT Awards in 2012. From a professional perspective I'm very interested in energy politics and how it will affect the datacenter industry but also how ABB can help this industry find more effective and efficient ways to manage energy consumption.
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